“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”(Proverbs 22:6)
This scripture is where I am very happily beginning these possibly scattered thoughts today. Numberless parents have not hesitated to boldly proclaim this promise over their children. I am certainly among them. I am delighted to know it is another promise we can count on.
Children are extremely impressionable. They grow up in a particular environment where they hear the spoken word. Their small world is filled with actions, sights and smells which become permanent memories. As they live and grow, so do the memories.
Our daughter tells it well in this poem. She gladly shares it on this blog. In the poem, she draws upon her experiences, as a young girl in the 1960’s, when she attended Christian campmeetings in the summertime. I find this poem to be a picture of the promise.
"Riverside Camp" On a chain across the driveway Sways a sign that reads, 'Keep Out!' Campers long ago departed Many dead, without a doubt But the children of those campers When they drive up to that sign See beyond the unmown grasses Into buildings worn by time Early in the morning daily "Brother Brown" and his dear bride Got up and set to making Camp Along the Riverside He would tend to all the upkeep Mowing lawns, repairing gate You could find her in the kitchen As the evening waxed quite late But their eyes stayed on the vision And it kept them going strong They'd be coming in from miles There'd be preaching, there'd be song And when the people gathered in The camp became renowned - Not for the "Camp beside the River" But the camp was "Brother Brown's" Brother Brown was without guile And his wife was just the same Humble servants of the Master With the 'Good News' to proclaim Food for soul and bread for body Was the mission in that place Though it prob'ly wasn't written It was breathed in every space We would see her in the kitchen Hands and forearms in the dough Getting ready for the evening People dining row by row And the loaves would keep on coming From her ovens they were fed It was kitchen oh so sacred That produced such holy bread Then across the grounds we'd amble With our bodies satisfied To the Tabernacle meeting Row by row we sat inside And the loaves would keep on coming From the heavens we were fed Wooden building oh so sacred That contained such holy bread As we sat there in that building Holy hush fell on the ground Poles held open doors and windows And the breeze would rustle round Had we known it would be over We'd have chosen to remain Frozen safely in those moments Singing just one more refrain While the river in the valley Chortled on its way below And the people sang above it "Where You want me to, I'll go." And the Browns for just a moment Could set aside their toil As the souls around the altar Became the Victor's spoil Sway on, sign, on rusty chain Keep all the children out But our memories have no boundaries And they trespass with a shout! For the echoes of saints' praises Are still ringing down through time And those moments on the campground Etched a memory most sublime. (©Robyn K. Hesley-Cowherd)